History of the McCaffery - 1963


On 1 January 1963, McCaffery was moored at Mayport, Florida. Commanding officer - CDR K.F. Gillette.

On 7 January, McCaffery got underway with Saratoga (CVA-60) for plane guard duties and ASW exercises. After refueling, McCaffery proceeded to the Jacksonville operating area for exercises, and returned to Mayport on 14 January. On 29 January, McCaffery got underway for San Juan, Puerto Rico, and arrived on 30 January.

McCaffery operated in and out of San Juan to participate in Operation Springboard, which consisted of highline transfers, shore bombardment firing practice at Culebra Island, and simulated ASW attack exercises. During these exercises, McCaffery launched and retrieved a MK37 torpedo. After replenishing at San Juan, McCaffery returned to Mayport on 15 February.

Additional plane guard exercises and highline transfers were part of exercises with Saratoga toward the end of February. McCaffery was in Mayport on 9 March when Perry (DE-1034) breasted out to allow Brough (DE-148) to get underway. During engine tests, Brough caused McCaffery to shift forward, parting a storm wire aft, damaging several stanchions and the brow of Yellowstone (AD-27). Unloading ammunition on 14 March, 28 Navy dependents came aboard for a short cruise to Rawls Brothers Shipyard at Jacksonville to enter dry dock for ten days before moving to a mooring on 26 March.

McCaffery operated in and out of Mayport during the month of April. On 6 May, McCaffery got underway to participate as a communications relay ship in the final Mercury space flight, 15-16 May. Astronaut Gordon Cooper piloted Faith-7 on the longest flight of the Mercury program, orbiting the earth 22 times and logging over 34 hours in space. Exercises continued including weather tests with the RAWIN weather balloon en route to a short visit at Bermuda, 20 - 24 May. McCaffery returned to Mayport on 25 May, and alternated in port for tender availability, and at sea prior to an extended Mediterranean deployment.

On 23 July, CDR G.B. Kaffer relieved CDR K.F. Gillette as commanding officer of McCaffery.

On 31 July, COMCRUDESFLOT 8 came aboard to conduct Admiral's inspection.

On 6 August, McCaffery got underway for the Mediterrean as part of COMSTRIKEFOR exercises. On 18 August, McCaffery investigated a sonar contact, dropping hand grenades and commenced simulated hedgehog attacks. On 19 August, McCaffery searched for a downed pilot from Independence (CV-62) off the coast of Brittany, France, with no report of success. After passing through the Strait of Gibraltar, McCaffery made two ports of call on the island of Sardinia - Golfo di Palmas (24 August) and Aranci Baia (29 August). On 31 August, McCaffery moored at Naples, Italy. On 14 September, McCaffery departed Naples, and moored at Salerno, Italy.

On 18 September, McCaffery got underway for Izmir, Turkey, in company with Independence (CV-62), and Saratoga (CVA-60). While en route, various exercises and drills were conducted including: simulated man overboard, submarine searches, observing and investigating various ships encountered during the voyage. On 27 September, McCaffery anchored at Izmir, Turkey.

On 2 October, McCaffery departed Izmir for Palmero, Sicily, and arrived on 6 October. After three days in port, McCaffery got underway for Genoa, Italy, and arrived on 11 October. McCaffery got underway on 15 October, and made a brief stop at Augusta Bay Port Facility, Sicily, which supports the Sixth Fleet. Staying for only a few hours, McCaffery departed for Naples, and arrived on 20 October. On 25 October, McCaffery got underway for Cannes, France, arrived on 31 October, then departed on 4 November for Taranto, Italy, and arrived on 9 November. When McCaffery departed Taranto, she returned to the western Mediterrean, and conducted exercises with various ships en route to Golfo dell Asinara on the northwest coast of Sardinia. McCaffery anchored on 24 November for a few hours, and was visited by Vice Admiral W.E. Gentner, COMSIXTHFLT.

On 28 November, McCaffery departed Sardinia, and got underway for Toulon, France for a 10-day port visit. She got underway on 7 December for Port de Pollenca on the island of Majorca, Spain, and anchored there for a few hours on 11 December. McCaffery got underway for the voyage home, and arrived at Mayport on 23 December.

On 31 December 1963, McCaffery was moored at Mayport, Florida.

SOURCE: USS McCAFFERY -- 1945-1974 by Edward W. (Bill) Maslak